Thursday, July 2, 2009


This spring I had irises, daffodils, tulips, peonies and roses blooming in rapid succession. There were bouquets in each room of the house, and I could tell where I was standing by scent. I am beginning to forget that flowers were once an extravagance. My first spring in New York City, on the way home from a late night in Manhattan, we came upon a corner market that was selling daffodils for $3 a bunch. I don’t remember how many we bought, but I do remember sitting on the couch in front of a vase packed with their luminous yellow and clean scent. It made me feel rich, joyful. Now I pick fist full of flowers and have more than I need; they smell thick and new and so sweet it almost hurts. The spring flowers are gone, the pea blossoms have long ago turned to pods, but this past week was hot and wet and the garden is beginning to bloom again. The spinach bolted, sending up tiny flowers on fuzzed spikes, so we pulled up the plants and picked all the leaves. They were dusty with pollen and I made spanikopita. The heirloom and mesclun mixes have also gone to seed. They are thin and wispy in their rows and I hope that if I let them be they will re-seed and grow--a second harvest in the fall. Our green beans and soybeans have small white flowers that give way to furry pods, miniature versions of what we will pick next month. But the standouts are the squash blossoms. They only last a day and turn our hills to piles of fire--deep pumpkin orange for the zucchini and butter yellow for the cucumbers. Once a fair number of the zucchinis start growing I will pick the new blossoms and make tacos and soup from them. Only the really rich can afford to eat flowers.